Skip to main content

'Inhuman, unacceptable': Letter to Modi on order to close shops, 'preventive' arrests

Counterview Desk
 
A voluntary group, calling itself Concerned Citizens of Gujarat, in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi has protested against the orders issued by the State authorities to the street vendors in several areas to close shop for the days Modi would be visiting Gujarat from March 11, calling it a violation of the right to pursue livelihood by thousands of citizens.
The letter states, “Such unconstitutional orders and harassment by public officials need to be stopped forthwith. It not only shows an inhuman approach, but also a total lack of capability to manage security details without disrupting normal life of citizens.”

Text:

We have come to know that you will be visiting your home state Gujarat for a few days from the March 11. We understand in their efforts to ensure your security the Government of Gujarat along with Ahmedabad and other Municipal Corporations that are part of your itinerary are taking the requisite steps as per protocols and Standard Operating Procedures. We fully understand and support the security arrangements that are needed in the event of the visit of the Prime Minister and other senior public servants of the state.
However, we are concerned about some actions of the government authorities in Gujarat which violate the fundamental rights of citizens. Some of these actions are delineated below:
The authorities have issued orders that in all the areas that you will be visiting and along the route that you would be travelling, street vendors should not conduct business from March 10 to 12. Street vendors who work on the SG highway, Prahladnagar, Ashram Road, Airport area, Stadium, 132 feet Ring Road and the GMDC area and Vastrapur Lake have already been closed for vending as conveyed to us by representatives of street vendors.
While the police and authorities have the mandate to ensure that there would be no compromise in the security of the PM and his entourage, such a violation of the right to pursue livelihood of thousands of citizens simply cannot be tolerated; such unconstitutional orders and harassment by public officials need to be stopped forthwith. It not only shows an inhuman approach, but also a total lack of capability to manage security details without disrupting normal life of citizens.
The PM’s itinerary is meticulously organized and scheduled. It is understandable, if, for a short period of time when the PM’s convoy passes (may be even upto half a day) or when the PM is holding meetings in a particular venue the shops and vendors could close for a few hours. But to issue such blanket orders as to close their business for 2 or 3 days is inhuman, violative of the right to life and livelihood of thousands of citizens and lowers the dignity of the PM’s office. Hence it is important that you as the PM instruct the respective governments and authorities that such orders be revoked and work out the logistics in a manner that protects the livelihoods of citizens.
It should be noted that this violative practice of closing down street vending has been going on since a number of years (2014-15) and it is high time that you take the initiative to put an end to it.
Indiscriminate preventive detention and arrests, house arrests, ‘najar kaid’ of civil society activists have started, and is expected to intensify further. We are aware of several such cases and have received complaints of such harassment and detention by local police, ATS, SOG and Crime Branch.
Indiscriminate preventive detention and arrests, house arrests, ‘najar kaid’ of civil society activists have started, and is expected to intensify further
Such detention and arrests of activists without any provocation or intent by wrongfully invoking the provisions under Bombay Police Act or BPMC Act or even PASA, is a violation of the freedom of expression and mobility in a democracy. This again lowers the dignity of the august office you occupy, as the PM of world’s largest democracy.
In fact we believe that if during your visit safe and orderly protests are allowed it would definitely enhance the image of our country. But even if that is not allowed, preventive detention and arrests should be stopped forthwith; and we suggest that you personally intervene to stop such undemocratic acts by the law enforcement authorities.
Such preventive action targeting history-sheeters, people with criminal records, those with licensed fire-arms in the region is understandable; but to harass law-abiding citizens and activists is simply not acceptable, just because they may have expressed dissent or opposition to the government. Such actions are unconstitutional, and when resorted to ostensibly for the security of highest Jan Sevak of our nation (the PM) it erodes our great democracy and the faith of its citizens in your leadership.
We, the concerned citizens of Gujarat, therefore demand that you personally intervene to rescind the order preventing street vendors from conducting business for five days. We also demand that you intervene to instruct the DGP of Gujarat to ensure that civil society activists and political leaders are not harassed or detained by the law enforcement authorities.

Comments

TRENDING

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

How lead petitioner was rendered homeless when GM mustard matter came up in SC

By Rosamma Thomas*  On January 5, 2023, the Supreme Court stayed a December 20, 2022 direction of the Uttarakhand High Court to the Indian Railways and the district administration of Haldwani to use paramilitary forces to evict thousands of poor families occupying land that belonged to the railways.  Justice AS Oka remarked that it was not right to order the bringing in of paramilitary forces. The SC held that even those who had no rights, but were living there for years, needed to be rehabilitated. On December 21, 2022, just as she was getting ready to celebrate Christmas, researcher Aruna Rodrigues was abruptly evicted from her home in Mhow Cantonment, Madhya Pradesh – no eviction notice was served, and nearly 30 Indian Army soldiers bearing arms were part of the eviction process. What is noteworthy in this case is that the records establishing possession of the house date back to 1892 – the title deed with the name of Dr VP Cardoza, Rodrigues’ great grandfather, is dated November 14

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Tax buoyancy claims when less than 4% Indian dollar millionaires pay income tax

By Prasanna Mohanty  In FY18, the last year for which disaggregated income tax data is available, only 29,002 ITRs declared income above Rs 5 crore, while Credit Suisse said India had 7.25 lakh dollar millionaires (the wealth equivalent of Rs 8 crore and above) that year. Often enough, the Centre claims that demonetization in 2016 raised tax collections, improved tax efficiency, and expanded the tax base. Now RBI Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) member Ashima Goyal has also joined their ranks, attributing the “claims” of rising tax collections in the current fiscal year to “tax buoyancy” brought by the demonetisation . Do such claims have any basis in official records? The answer is unequivocal. The budget documents show the tax-to-GDP ratio (direct plus indirect tax) increased from 10.6% in FY16 (pre-demonetization) to 11.2% in FY17, remained there in FY18 (demonetization and GST fiscals), and then fell to 9.9% in FY20. In FY22, it improved to 10.8% and is estimated to drop to 10.7% in

Gandhian unease at Mahadev Desai book launch: Sabarmati Ashram may lose free space

By Rajiv Shah  A simmering apprehension has gripped the Gandhians who continue to be trustees of the Sabarmati Ashram: the “limited freedom” to express one’s views under the Modi dispensation still available at the place which Mahatma Gandhi made his home from 1917 to 1930 may soon be taken away. Also known as Harijan Ashram, a meeting held for introducing yet-to-be-released book, “Mahadev Desai: Mahatma Gandhi's Frontline Reporter”, saw speaker and after speaker point towards “narrowing space” in Gujarat for Gandhians (as also others) to express themselves. Penned by veteran journalist Nachiketa Desai, grandson of Mahadev Desai, while the book was planned to be released on January 1 and the meeting saw several prominent personalities, including actor-director Nandita Das, her scholar-mother Varsha Das, British House of Lords member Bhikhu Parekh, among others, speak glowingly about the effort put in for bringing out the book, exchanges between speakers suggested it should be rele

Why no information with Assam state agency about female rhino poaching for a year?

By Nava Thakuria   According to official claims, incidents of poaching related to rhinoceros in various forest reserves of Assam in northeast India have decreased drastically. Brutal laws against the poachers, strengthening of ground staff inside the protected forest areas and increasing public awareness in the fringe localities of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries across the State are the reasons cited for positively impacting the mission to save the one-horned rhinos. Officials records suggest, only two rhinos were poached in Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve since 1 January 2021 till date. The last incident took place probably in the last week of December 2021, as a decomposed carcass of a fully-grown (around 30 years old) female rhino was recovered inside the world-famous forest reserve next month. As the precious horn was missing, for which the gigantic animal was apparently hunted down, it could not be a natural death. Ironically, however, it was not confirmed when

Civil rights leaders allege corporate loot of resources, suppression of democratic rights

By Our Representative  Civil rights activists have alleged, quoting top intelligence officers as also multiple international forensic reports, that recent developments with regard to the Bhima Koregaon and the Citizenship Amendment Act-National Register of Citizens (CAA-NRC) cases suggest, there was "no connection between the Elgaar Parishad event and the Bhima Koregaon violence." Activists of the Campaign Against State Repression (CASR) told a media event at the HKS Surjeet Bhawan, New Delhi, that, despite this, several political prisoners continue to be behind bars on being accused under the anti-terror the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Addressed by family members of the political prisoners, academics, as well as social activists, it was highlighted how cases were sought to be fabricated against progressive individuals, democratic activists and intellectuals, who spoke out against "corporate loot of Indian resources, suppression of basic democratic

Kerala natural rubber producers 'squeezed', attend to their plight: Govt of India told

By Rosamma Thomas   Babu Joseph, general secretary of the National Federation of Rubber Producers Societies (NFRPS) at a recent discussion at Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, explained that it is high time the Union government paid greater heed to the troubles plaguing the rubber production sector in India – rubber is a strategic product, important for the military establishment and for industry, since natural rubber is still used in the manufacture of tyres for large vehicles and aeroplanes. Synthetic rubber is now quite widespread, but styrene, which is used in making synthetic rubber and plastics, and also butadiene, another major constituent of synthetic rubber, are both hazardous. Prolonged exposure to these even in recycled rubber can cause neurological damage. Kerala produces the bulk of India’s natural rubber. In 2019-20, Kerala’s share in the national production of rubber was over 74%. Over 20% of the gross cropped area in the state is under rubber cultivation, with total

Bangladesh 'rights violations': US softens stance, fears increased clout of China, India

By Tilottama Rani Charulata*  In December 2021, in addition to the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), the United States imposed sanctions on seven former and current officers of the force, alleging serious human rights violations. Benazir Ahmed and former RAB-7 commander Miftah Uddin Ahmed were banned from entering the US. RAB as an institution was also canceled the support it was getting from the US and its allies. At the same time, those under the ban have been notified of confiscation of assets held abroad. The anti-crime and anti-terrorism unit of the Bangladesh Police, RAB is the elite force consisting of members of the Bangladesh Army, Bangladesh Police, Bangladesh Navy, Bangladesh Air Force, Border Guard Bangladesh, Bangladesh Civil Service and Bangladesh Ansar, and has been criticized by rights groups for its use of extrajudicial killings and is accused of forced disappearances. The government of Bangladesh has been insisting about lifting the ban on RAB, but the US had till recen